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Recent articles by Gregor Kerr
Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Community struggles
Mass Opposition to Proposed Irish Household Charge - Boycott Campaign under way
ireland / britain | community struggles | news report Friday July 29, 2011 21:22 by Gregor Kerr - WSM
But Sinn Fein refuse to support non-payment
Already a campaign has been established and in a statement issued yesterday following the announcement of the charge by Minister for The Environment Phil Hogan, that campaign stated:
“This latest tax, part of the EU/IMF memorandum, adds insult to the injury of working people, pensioners and the unemployed occasioned by being forced to salvage Irish and European banks from the consequences of their reckless speculation in the Irish property market……If this Household Tax were accepted everybody knows it would rocket to €500 and upwards within a short period. It would be a curtain raiser for further burdens such as water charges and a property tax on every home……On Saturday,16 July a meeting of activists and members of left parties and groups, following on from some initial meetings last year, resolved to launch a national campaign of opposition to new household and water taxes as soon as they were announced by government. A final name for the campaign has not yet been decided until the government clarified its proposals.
The Campaign is calling for a boycott of the charge and a mass non-payment campaign to make it unenforceable.
The Anti Household and Water Tax campaign is open to all those prepared to fight the new tax. Although members and public representatives of left groups will play an important role, it will not be affiliated to any political party or organisation and will have fully democratic structures in place.
A major series of public meeting s in cities and towns around the country will kick off in September to establish local groups in what will be a very active campaign.”
The work will begin now to build a campaign of mass opposition across the country – in every city, town and village. The strength of the campaign will be that it will be built by ordinary people and our unity, and our ability to say NO, will be our strongest weapons. At the end of the day, if we all stand together the government will find themselves powerless to impose this tax on us.
The importance of resisting this initial charge lies in the fact that if it is successfully imposed we can expect water and property taxes up to a possible €1,000 per annum within a short number of years. There is no justification for this tax but its attempted imposition provides us with an opportunity to galvanise our opposition to the thrust of government policy which continues that of the disgraced Fianna Fail/Green coalition and is based on making ordinary workers – both public and private sector - pay the gambling debts of speculators and bankers.
Workers Solidarity Movement members will, in our own communities, be centrally involved in helping to build the campaign against this tax. As we stated in Workers Solidarity 122: “Non-payment campaigns can be built in every single community. The first task faced will be to talk to and encourage all members of the community to join the non-payment campaign. Then we need to organise to support and encourage each other, and to defend each other when the government attempts to attack us through legal or political action. This will require the active participation of as many people as possible. Politicians, community leaders or trade union leaders cannot do it for us. The strongest campaigns will be those that involve large numbers of ‘ordinary’ people.
That means people like you. You don’t need to have any previous experience of organising campaigns to get involved, you just need to have a willingness to work alongside your neighbours and friends to take the simple steps of helping to build a campaign in your area. A No To Water Tax Campaign has already been established and will be building in every community over the coming months. Members of the Workers Solidarity Movement will be active in helping to establish this campaign. We hope that you too will get involved. Please get in touch and we will support or help in any way we can to help build a local campaign in your area.”
(See below for full article)
Unfortunately Sinn Fein spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, on TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne programme last night, Tuesday, failed to back the tactic of non-payment, describing such a tactic as “dangerous”, because those who boycott the tax could be left with bills to pay. But what Doherty and Sinn Fein, and indeed the government, should realise is that this campaign intends to be successful. This tax can and will be defeated and therefore nobody will be left with bills to pay. Just as water charges were defeated in the 1990s by a campaign of boycott and people power, so too this tax will not be imposed on us – if we organise ourselves.
Doherty went on to say that Sinn Fein would be doing “everything in our power to oppose this”. Yet he failed to back the only tactic that can win. This is a pathetic position for any political party who claim to be opposed to the charge to take. Put simply, there is only one way this tax will be defeated - through a mass campaign of non-cooperation and non-payment.
Sinn Fein’s position is a disgrace. It’s not enough for us just to complain and moan. We need to and we can defeat the charge. By organising in our communities we will be successful.
Follow this link to hear Joe Higgins present the campaign’s position on Ireland FM this morning: www.tv3.ie/ireland_am.php?video=38320&locID=1.65.74
Sun 01 Mar, 02:21
People in deprived areas 3 times more likely to take their lives in Northern Ireland 14:36 Thu 13 Sep 0 comments
People in deprived areas in Northern Ireland are three times more likely to take their lives. Health minister Edwin Poots said, ‘Unemployment rates in deprived areas further affect people and this is a major concern. Studies indicate that a 1% increase in unemployment is met with a corresponding 0.79% increase in suicide.
Hundreds of Garda deployed to protect Shell's machine from the people of Ireland 14:47 Wed 01 Aug 0 comments
A huge secretive Garda security operation last night swung into operation in Dublin Port as Shell's Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) left the port as part of a huge convoy of Garda vehicles. News of the operation had leaked at the last minute meaning that with only an hours notice a handful of Shell to Sea campaigners managed to get down to the port entrance despite the pouring rain. Most of us were pulled over and questioned by Garda at least once and the Garda helicopter stayed overhead as various Garda vehicles including a van load of riot cops with the door open drove past us repeatedly.
Council tries to silence protest by threatening Rossport Solidarity Camp with eviction 14:54 Tue 22 May 0 comments
In a new twist to the decade long struggle against Shell Rossport Solidarity Camp has revealed that Mayo County Council (MCC) has issued an eviction notice to the landowner of the field where the Rossport Solidarity Camp is located. Mayo farmer Gerry Burke has been threatened with fines of over €12,000 and two years in prison. Despite these theats the annual June Bank Holiday solidarity gathering will go ahead in a couple of weeks.
Massive National rally of community campaign against new Household tax in Ireland 18:53 Tue 27 Mar 0 comments
Saturday's National Rally against the Household Tax in the National Stadium was literally filled to overflowing. As well as nearly 3,000 people crammed into every possible space in the Stadium another 4 to 500 were in the car park at the side, unable to fit into the building. And the thousands who attended were angry, energized and expectant of victory. The National Stadium normally hosts boxing marches but the atmosphere on Saturday topped that of watching a home fighter coming out on top in a close fought bout.
Dublin: The eviction of the Occupy Dame Street camp 21:19 Thu 08 Mar 0 comments
A large force of Garda and council workers were deployed at 3.30am today, International Women's Day, to clear Occupy Dame Street (ODS) camp. The camp was completely demolished in the course of the eviction, campers intimidated and their personal property stolen. This was a level of force way out of proportion with the numbers in the camp (about 15 people) and stands in contrast with the lack of resources put into investigating what happened at Anglo, the collapse of which has left a debt of 26,000 Euro on every single person in the country. [Italiano]
Detailed account of Shell's prosecution of 19 more people for ongoing resistance in Erris, Ireland 21:14 Thu 08 Mar 0 comments
The end of February saw 19 Shell to Sea campaigners, including a WSM member, being prosecuted on 80 charges for civil disobediance against Shell's decade long attempt to impose an experimental high pressure raw gas pipeline on the communities of Erris. Over 8,000 euro in fines were handed down by this special sitting of the Belmullet court and Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway was given two 3-month prison sentences under section 8 of the Public Order Act for blocking the road on two seperate occasions, a 'crime' that anyone following the struggle will be aware Shell's private security company committs three times a day with the co-operation of the Gardai. (Image: Community show support in advance of the court cases, J Bender, RSC)
Report from 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday March 17:56 Thu 02 Feb 0 comments
Despite the opposition of the governing SInn Fein party, relatives of families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and political supporters, including Irish anarchists, marched in remembrance last Saturday. A report from the anarchists present and a background to the issues behind those determined to continue the annual commemoration. [Italiano]
The Household Tax: Don’t Register, Don’t Pay 23:30 Fri 27 Jan 0 comments
Mid-December saw the eventual publication of the long-threatened household tax legislation. The first three months of 2012 will present every household in Ireland with a choice: whether to succumb to this new home tax, which along with the proposed water tax will rise to approx €1,200 per annum within a couple of years, or to refuse to register, refuse to pay and make a stand against the costs of bailing out bankers and developers continuing to be hoisted on our shoulders.
The liberation of a former Bank of Ireland building in Belfast 17:29 Wed 18 Jan 0 comments
Occupy Belfast seized the initiative Monday by re-possessing the former Bank of Ireland building in Royal Avenue gaining media coverage both here and across the world. Around a dozen protestors including a WSM member entered the building, unfurled banners and put up barricades despite early attempts by the police to illegally evict us. A WSM member who took part gives us his views on the occupation below.
Occupy 'x' arrives in Ireland with Occupy Dame street 22:56 Wed 12 Oct 0 comments
The 'Occupy X' movement arrived in Ireland over the weekend when a core group of around 50 people set up camp at the Central Bank Plaza on Dame street. Numbers grew to a few hundred at times over the next days and nights as supporters came down to join in for a while and the curious stopped to see what was going on. Issues highlighted by participants included the bank bail out, IMF intervention & the ongoing Great Oil & Gas Giveaway.more >>
A WSM talk about the development & future of the campaign against water charges, a mass campaign of resistance to privitisation of water and an austerity tax that has emerged in southern Ireland involving hundreds of thousands of people.
Dublin City Council have new by laws to permit officials to interrogate members of the public as to how they are disposing of their rubbish. When the councils started charging for waste disposal years back numerous people refused to pay, the councils then withdrew their collections and ultimately the service was privatised. At the time of the introduction of a fee for rubbish collection some environmentalists argued it was a good thing that would lead to greater recycling and lower waste production. The councils began charging for recycling also of course.
The future of the CAHWT - Making Democracy Work Jun 14 0 comments
Almost a month has passed since the national conference of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT). While on the surface things look pretty quiet, this is a critical juncture for the campaign. The momentum that has been lost by the attachment of the CAHWT to the unsuccessful No referendum campaign will only be rebuilt when the government make their next move, but those active in the campaign need to use the coming weeks to prepare for that eventuality.
Single Issue Campaigns, Community Syndicalism & Direct Democracy Jun 14 0 comments
There’s been a lot of talk lately about participatory and direct democracy. Renewed interest in alternative forms of organising society has arisen from increasing dissatisfaction with mainstream politics and the domination of the economy by a few corporations. This dissatisfaction has found its expression in the Arab spring, the May 15th movement in Spain and the Occupy movement in the English-speaking world. Where the anti-capitalist movement of the last decade focussed almost exclusively on the power of the corporations and finance capital, this current tendency is to also focus on politics and the state.
Household Tax- planning to win - democracy is the key May 19 0 comments
The National Conference of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes this Saturday will be making some key decisions that will determine the future success of the campaign. The ultimate objective of our campaign should be to ensure that everyone who gets involved in it can have an equal input into our decision-making. This will make for a more democratic and far more efficient Campaign which large numbers of people will feel direct ownership of. That will mean a far stronger Campaign and one capable of winning. On Saturday we will be distributing this text which explains the case for direct democracy as a leaflet to those attending the conference.more >>
Why we are leaving Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT) Jun 26 WSM 0 comments
The Workers Solidarity Movement has decided to withdraw from the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. Please see statement below. We have made a donation of €1,000 towards paying off the debts of CAHWT.
Scotland's for Council Housing! Glasgow Demo, 24th September Sep 18 Liberty and Solidarity & IWW 0 comments
With the full backing of the Glasgow chapter of Liberty and Solidarity and local community newspaper 'The Burgh Angel' , Hamiltonhill Action Group will be holding a demonstration with the Scottish Tenants Organisation on Thursday 24th September, against the Glasgow Housing Association's (GHA) refusal to invest money in their community.
The Libertarian - issue 2 Aug 28 WSM 5 comments
The second issue of 'The Libertarian' a local newsletter distributed in Dublin 8 by the WSM is online.